As an attorney who works with special needs families and the mother of an adult daughter with disabilities, Theresa Varnet has a great deal of valuable information to share with other special needs parents.

She has been invited to speak to Lowcountry families raising children and adults with disabilities.

Topics will include:

  • How do you set up a trust for your child?
  • Who will take care of your child after you are gone?
  • What benefits is my child eligible for and how do I access these benefits?
  • What should we expect with the impending changes to healthcare in our nation?

Varnet, an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois and Massachusetts, and local attorney Olesya Matyushevsky will answer these questions and more at a presentation on future planning for special needs families at 2:30 p.m. April 22 at the Hilton Head Branch of Beaufort County Library.

Varnet, whose daughter has a genetic disease called tuberous sclerosis complex, has been an advocate for people with disabilities for more than 50 years. In addition to being a lawyer, she is a certified teacher and licensed social worker.

Varnet has served as social services director in a residential school for children with multiple disabilities, coordinator for a special education cooperative and as a citizen advocacy and disability rights coordinator.

Varnet has done extensive work in the area of in-service training with families, special educators, social workers and other professionals.

A frequent speaker for volunteer and professional groups, she has presented numerous seminars on special needs planning and advocacy across the U.S.

She has also been interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered” radio program, and has been quoted in Forbes Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

An active volunteer in the national, state and local chapters of The Arc, Varnet is also co-chair of the Special Needs Law section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, an active member of the Academy of Special Needs planners, a member of Alliance for Mentally Ill and The Autism Society.

She is a past member of the Developmental Disabilities Council in Massachusetts and Kentucky, and past member of the Governor’s Advisory Panel on Special Education in Kentucky.

Matyushevsky is a graduate of Hilton Head High School. She received her B.S. from the College of Charleston and received her law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

She was sworn in before the Supreme Court of South Carolina in May 2007.

Matyushevsky was a staff attorney with the Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse. She is now in private practice and concentrates in special needs planning, divorce, custody, child support, landlord-tenant matters, employment, housing and immigration issues.

She is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and has an office in Bluffton.

For more information, contact Amy Coyne Bredeson at 843-290-2741 or